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Kristin Masters
Master Content Brain. You think it, she writes it, no good thought remains unposted. Sprinkles pixie dust on Google+, newsletters, blog, facebook, twitter and just about everything else.

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Tips For Collecting Mark Twain Books

Born November 30, 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (pen name, Mark Twain) would become one of the most beloved American writers of all time. As a writer, humorist, speaker, and publisher, Mark Twain became a household name. His works are perennial favorites among readers and collectors, and in recent years, rare Mark Twain books and ephemera have gained even more value. Let's reexamine his remarkable life and work.
     
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The First James Bond? John Dee Was the Original 007

By Kristin Masters. Apr 5, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond

Centuries before Ian Fleming would write James Bond into existence, another man signed letters with "007." That man, John Dee, was a mathematician, astronomer, and (some say) magician. He was also a trusted member of Queen Elizabeth I's court. Some historians say that Dee was a spy for Elizabeth, thus making him an even more fitting inspiration for Ian Fleming's hero.

     
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Charles Darwin's Literary Inspirations

By Kristin Masters. Mar 30, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Biographies, History, Science

Charles Darwin's theory of evolution revolutionized the scientific world. An avid reader, Darwin built a personal library that included over 1,500 volumes of science, philosophy, and literature. Just as Darwin was influenced by what he read, he has also influenced generations of scholars and authors. A significant number of his letters, books, and papers belong to the Cambridge University Library.

     
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John Steinbeck and the Nixon Novel that Never Was

John Steinbeck, born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California, would become one of American's most notable authors. Steinbeck established himself as an author in an era when accomplished authors held considerable clout. As a result, he one day found himself in a unique position: he held the upcoming United States presidential election in his hands.

     
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How to Prevent and Reverse Foxing in Rare Books

By Kristin Masters. Apr 23, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Book Care

There is never a wrong time to think about the effects of moisture and humidity on rare books. Just as too much sun can damage your rare books, so can too much moisture. And we'’re not just talking about direct moisture, such as liquid spills. The relative humidity of the air is also a concern. Excess humidity (usually relative humidity above 75%) can encourage the growth of fungi and mildew, which can lead to foxing. If foxing occurs, what are the best ways to reverse it? Better yet, how can you prevent foxing in your rare books?

     
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Franklin Library Editions: Ideal for Book Collectors?

By Kristin Masters. Apr 16, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Modern First Editions

The Franklin Library, affiliated with the Franklin Mint, produced classic books, designed especially for collectors. Many of these publications have become more scarce over the years, but they've remained perennial favorites among many collectors. Why are Franklin Library editions so sought after? What should you know if you're hoping to collect Franklin Library editions?

     
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Scheuchzer and the History of the Biblical Encyclopedia

By Kristin Masters. Feb 13, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

"How is it possible to understand the whole universe? All the books that are made treat only some of the imaginable topics. What could we read that would treat absolutely everything?" 

So wrote François de Grenaille, author of Theatre de l'universe, published in 1643. Scholars had expressed similar consternation for a full century. With the advent of the printing press, the sheer volume of books reached what many scholars considered crisis levelsthey were simply unable to keep up with so much new information. 

     
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Johann Jakob Scheuchzer, Unwitting Namesake of a Giant Salamander

By Kristin Masters. Feb 8, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book History

By the time Johann Jakob Scheuchzer published the first volume of his momentous Physica Sacra in 1731, he was already a renowned scientist. Like many scholars of his age, Scheuchzer did not limit himself to only one field. Well versed in astronomy, he depicted one of the earliest known accounts of the Perseid meteor shower in 1709. That same year, Scheuchzer also published Herbarium Diluvianum ("Herbarium of the Deluge"), an exhaustive botanical reference consulted long into the following century. A colleague of Sir Isaac Newton and other luminaries of the early modern era, Scheuchzer is unfortunately often remembered not for his expansive body of work, but for his most famous mistake. 

     
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Mark Twain, Prankster Journalist

By Kristin Masters. Nov 21, 2014. 9:56 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature, Mark Twain

 

"Get the facts first. Then you can distort them as much as you like." 
-Dan DeQuille, reporter,  Territorial Enterprise, ca 1862

 

Before he would pen Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer or even adopt the pseudonym "Mark Twain," Samuel Clemens tried his hand at mining. He had little luck, however, and soon turned to journalism to make a living. Clemens got hired as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise, the largest newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada. Though Clemens did some honest reporting, he also earned a reputation for publishing pranks and hoaxes--often under his new pen name. 

     
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Isaac Bashevis Singer, Tireless Author and Indefatigable Self-Promoter

By Kristin Masters. Nov 19, 2014. 9:00 AM.

One of the best known authors of the twentieth century, Isaac Bashevis Singer won literary accolades all over the world, including that most illustrious of awards, the Nobel Prize in Literature. The 1978 Nobel laureate wrote primarily in Yiddish, yet the majority of his published works are in English--a fact that makes Singer all the more fascinating to both scholars and collectors. 

     
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How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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